The Grand Signal

A digital magazine covering the intersection of technology, human rights and social change.

Li-Fi is 10 times faster than Wi-Fi and may prove to be a better alternative

October 21, 2013 | Written by The Grand Signal
Photo courtesy of Duncan Geere on Flickr |

As more and more people connect to the web, Wi-Fi quality continues to suffer because of interference among similar frequency Wi-Fi signals. Bandwidth of Wi-Fi is also limited by the principles of electromagnetism which set an upper bound on the amount of data that can be transmitted at a specific frequency.

A group of researchers from Fudang University in Shanghai have showed a way to transfer data through light as opposed to radio waves – the main medium of transfer for Wi-Fi. With potential speeds of up to 10 times that of the fastest Wi-fi speeds, ‘Li-Fi’ works by transferring data through the flickering of lightbulbs billions of times per second. Light, of course, travels much faster than radio waves and thus solves the issue of slow transfer speed in crowded areas.

The main obstacle with Li-Fi is its limitation in range. In order to connect and receive data, a device must be within direct view of the lightbulb. Devices in another room for instance, away from a particular Li-Fi lightbulb, won’t be able to receive any data. Newer Wi-Fi technologies also suffer from the same range issue as they transmit data at higher frequencies.

via Quartz

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